US 5071730 A
A new polymer family is shown for use in high sensitivity, high resolution photoresists. A liquid apply resist includes a polymer binder of t-butyl methacrylate/methylmethacrylate/methacrylic acid and an initiator which generates acid upon exposure to radiation.
1. A photosensitive resist composition which can be applied as a film from a liquid solution of an organic solvent and which can be processed in aqueous media, the resist composition consisting essentially of:
(A) from about 99 to 80% by weight of a film forming, reactive polymer containing polymer groups which react upon acid catalysis in a chemical amplification reaction, the polymer chain of the reactive polymer comprising the following terpolymerizable units:
from about 10 to 50% by weight, based on the weight of the film forming reactive polymer, of a first monomer capable of undergoing an acid catalyzed conversion to render the product of the conversion soluble in an aqueous base developer, the first monomer being selected from the group consisting of tertiary butyl acrylate and tertiary butyl methacrylate,
from about 30 to 70% by weight, based on the weight of the film forming reactive polymer, of a second monomer which does not undergo an acid catalyzed reaction, the second monomer being selected from the group consisting of methyl methacrylate, methyl acrylate and combinations thereof,
from about 5 to 20% by weight, based on the weight of the film forming reactive polymer, of a third monomer selected from the group consisting of acrylic acid and methacrylic acid, and
(B) from about 1 to 20% by weight of an initiator which generates acid upon exposure to radiation, thereby producing acid catalysis of the film forming reactive polymer.
2. The photosensitive resist composition of claim 1, wherein the polymer chain of the reactive polymer consists essentially of approximately 10 to 50% by weight tertiary butyl methacrylate, 30 to 70% by weight methyl methacrylate and 5 to 20% by weight methacrylic acid.
3. The photosensitive resist composition of claim 1, wherein the initiator is selected from the group consisting of aryldiazonium, diaryliodonium and triarylsulfonium metal halides.
This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/513,741, filed Apr. 24, 1990, now abandoned.
This application is related to the copending application of Robert D. Allen, Gregory M. Wallraff, Logan L. Simpson and William D. Hinsberg, Ser. No. 07/513,652, entitled "DRY FILM, AQUEOUS PROCESSABLE PHOTORESIST COMPOSITIONS", filed concurrently herewith.
1. Technical Field
The present invention relates generally to liquid apply, aqueous processable photoresist compositions useful in a variety of lithographic applications and specifically to a family of such photoresist compositions which are based upon acrylic co, ter, tetra etc. polymers having acid-labile side groups which react with photoacid generators in chemical amplification reactions to produce positive photoresists having higher resolution than existing systems.
2. Description of the Related Art
The need for higher resolution is a continuing driving force in the development of new lithographic materials. The "RISTON" family of dry film photoresists are widely utilized in circuit board fabrication. These materials are based on photoinitiated free-radical polymerization of multifunctional monomers, leading to insolubilization of the exposed areas via cross-linking. Such resists exhibit high sensitivity due to the nature of the polymerization wherein many covalent bonds are produced for each radical generated. However, the tendency toward swelling during development, the requirement for an oxygen impermeable cover sheet during the exposure step, and resolution limitations are all drawbacks which are intrinsic to this resist chemistry.
The design of chemically amplified resist systems based on acid-catalyzed chain reactions (e.g., polymerization, depolymerization, side chain cleavage, etc.) has been recognized as a viable route to high sensitivity resist systems in microlithography. Such systems are described in, e.g., Polymers in Electronics, Davidson T. Ed., ACS Symposium Series 242, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1984, p.11, H. Ito, C. G. Willson. These systems offer the high sensitivity attendant with chemical amplification but avoid the drawbacks of free-radical based systems.
The present invention has as its object to provide a new family of photoresist compositions designed to operate via acid-catalyzed chemical amplification as a route to high sensitivity for circuitization applications such as printed circuit board manufacture, etc. The materials of the invention offer improved resolution, the capability of imaging at virtually any desired wavelength, easily controllable thermal properties for liquid-appliable applications, and aqueous processibility.
The photosensitive resist compositions of the invention comprise:
(A) a film forming polymer binder, the polymer chain of said polymer binder comprising the following polymerizable units:
a first monomer which contributes acid sensitive groups pendant on the polymer backbone,
a second monomer which is selected from the group consisting of alkyl methacrylates, alkyl acrylates and combinations thereof,
a third monomer selected from the group consisting of carboxylic acids of acrylates and carboxylic acids of methacrylates, and
(B) an initiator which generates acid upon exposure to radiation.
In the case of the liquid apply photosensitive resist compositions, the first monomer is preferably a tertiary butyl ester of a carboxylic acid. The second monomer is most preferably methyl methacrylate and the third monomer is most preferably methacrylic acid.
The photoresist compositions of the invention include a film forming polymer binder. The binder is an acrylic polymer which includes acid-labile side groups which react with a selected photoacid generator in a chemical amplification reaction to produce positive photoresists.
The acrylic polymer which makes up the film forming binder includes a first monomer which contributes the acid sensitive groups pendant on the polymer backbone. The preferred acid labile pendant groups are t-butyl esters of carboxylic acids and t-butyl carbonates of phenols but, it is understood that a wide range of acid labile groups are operative in the invention. For instance, additional acid sensitive groups are listed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,491,628, "Positive- And Negative-Working Resist Compositions With Acid Generating Photoinitiator and Polymer With Acid-Labile Groups Pendant From Polymer Backbone" H. Ito, C. G. Willson, and J. M. J. Frechet, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Preferred acid sensitive groups useful in the practice of the present invention include the t-butyl esters of acrylates and methacrylates.
The first monomer is preferably present in the polymer binder in the range from about 10 to 50% by weight based on the sum of all polymerizable units present.
The second class of monomer used to produce the polymeric binder is selected from the group consisting of alkyl methacrylates, alkyl acrylates and combinations thereof, e.g. methyl methacrylate (MMA) or ethyl methacrylate, ethyl acrylate or butyl acrylate. The most preferred second monomers are methyl methacrylate and/or ethyl acrylate. The choice of monomer or monomers which make up the second monomer class is dependent, at least in part, upon the glass temperature (Tg) requirement of the polymer binder which differs dependent upon whether the composition will be liquid or dry-film applied. The second monomer class is present in the polymer binder in the range of 30-70% by weight based on the sum of all polymerizable units present.
The third monomer is preferably selected from the group consisting of carboxylic acids of acrylates and carboxylic acids of methacrylates, e.g., acrylic acid and methacrylic acid. The choice of third monomer is also influenced by the glass temperature (Tg) requirements of the polymer binder. The third monomer is preferably present in the polymer in the range from about 5 to 30% by weight, based on the sum of all polymerized units present.
The preparation of polymers falling within the above described classes will be familiar to those skilled in the art, since they are readily prepared using known techniques. For instance, methacrylate and acrylate homo-,co-,ter-, tetra-, etc., polymers are synthesized by free radical solution polymerization. The choice of polymerization solvent is governed by factors such as solubility of the monomers, the nature of the initiators and formed polymer, boiling point, cost, etc. A variety of azo and peroxide initiators can be used to initiate the polymerization. In a typical synthesis, a reactor is charged with solvent (THF, MEK, etc.) and the desired monomers such that the formed polymer, assuming 100% conversion, attains a final concentration of 10 to 50% (wt/wt). The initiator is then charged (typically AIBN or BPO), at levels from 0.05% to 1.0% (vs. monomer), depending on the desired molecular weight. The system is sparged with nitrogen to remove oxygen. The polymerization is typically run at 60 to 80 degrees centigrade for 10 to 24 hours. The polymer is isolated by precipitation into a nonsolvent (hydrocarbon or water), and collected and dried at elevated temperatures under vacuum.
The initiator or photoacid generator used in the photosensitive resist compositions of the invention produce strong acids upon exposure to radiation. They are described in the literature and include, depending upon the exposure technology, aryldiazonium, diaryliodonium and triarylsulfonium metal halides. Other photoacid generators are described, e.g., in U.S. Pat. No. 4,250,053, "Sensitized Aromatic Iodonium or Aromatic Sulfonium Salt Photoinitiator Systems", issued Feb. 10, 1981, to George H. Smith, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Nonionic photoacid generators are also well known and are described in the art. The photoacid generator is preferably present in the polymer binder in the range from about 1 to 20 w/w % to polymer.
The photoresist compositions of the invention can also contain a sensitizer capable of sensitizing the photoacid generator to longer wavelengths ranging from mid UV to visible light. Depending upon the intended application, such sensitizers include polycyclic aromatics such as pyrene and perylene. The sensitization of the photoacid generators is well known and has been described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,250,053, cited earlier and in C. Rehner, U.S. Pat. No. 4,371,605. A preferred sensitizer useful in sensitizing the photoresist compositions of the invention for visible light or laser direct imageable photoresists is described in the copending application of Robert D. Allen, William D. Hinsberg III, Logan L. Simpson, Robert Twieg, Gregory M. Wallraff and Carlton G. Willson entitled "Photoacid Generating Composition and Sensitizer Therefor", filed Dec. 27, 1989, Ser. No. 07/458,048, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The invention is not limited to the use of a particular class of sensitizer or photoacid generator, however.
The novel film forming polymer binder and selected photoacid generator provide a photoresist composition which is well suited for use in imaging processes utilizing the imaging mechanism known as "chemical amplification." The methacrylate terpolymers used as the acid-labile binder provide tough, film-forming characteristics, while the "chemical amplification" mechanism (involving onium salt photolysis, acid generation, and side-group deprotection) is unique in its ability to afford a combination of high photospeed, high contrast, and oxygen insensitivity. Chemical amplification is described, e.g., in U.S. Pat No. 4,491,628, "Positive- And Negative-Working Resist Compositions With Acid Generating Photoinitiator and Polymer With Acid-Labile Groups Pendant From Polymer Backbone" H. Ito, C. G. Willson, and J. M. J. Frechet, previously cited and incorporated herein by reference.
The polymer materials selected from the first, second and third monomer classes described above, and which are used in the resists of the invention, have properties which make them uniquely suited as photoresists. The t-butyl ester monomer contributes the acid sensitive groups which form the basis of the acid catalyzed deprotection mechanism. The acrylate/methacrylate monomer increases the toughness of the film, while the acrylic acid/methacrylic acid monomer helps to control the development rate of the exposed resist. In the case of liquid-apply resists, a terpolymer of methyl methacrylate, t-butyl methacrylate, methacrylic acid provides advantages not present in the prior art. These terpolymers are tough, film-forming, and have high photospeeds due to the acid-catalyzed imaging mechanism. Due to the non-swelling nature and high contrast of these resists, they are capable of much higher resolution than existing photoresists used for circuit board manufacture.
Thus, the above stated monomers each fill a vital role in the makeup of the resin system. The t-butyl ester monomer (e.g. t-butyl methacrylate) (TBMA) imparts acid sensitivity to the polymer, i.e., photogenerated acid can react with side groups in the polymer chain to render them soluble in an aqueous base developer. However, a simple poly(t-butyl methacrylate) homopolymer is inadequate for circuitization applications, due to its cost, poor mechanical properties, incompatibility toward a variety of common acid generators. A much more desirable resin is produced through copolymerization with methyl methylacrylate and/or ethyl acrylate. Copolymerization with this "non-active" monomer leads to dramatic increase in mechanical properties and cost performance. In addition, the increase in solubility of most common photoinitiators in the polymer film leads to an unanticipated increase in photospeed. These copolymers are excellent imaging materials when formulated with photo-acid producing compounds. Their only limitation is the lack of processibility in fully aqueous developers (e.g. aqueous sodium carbonate). The addition of a third monomer is critical in achieving the desired developability. Methacrylic acid and/or acrylic acid is terpolymerized with the above two monomers. A compositional window exists whereby fairly rapid yet practical development rates in exposed areas exists, but the unexposed film exhibits no developer attack. It was anticipated that this addition of acidic monomer would lead to a loss of contrast, but within the boundaries of this relatively wide window, contrast is excellent. These terpolymers are synergistic materials which combine aqueous developability, good mechanical properties, low cost, excellent adhesion, and excellent contrast to lead to outstanding resolution capabilities.
These terpolymers exhibit excellent development characteristics, similar to those commonly found in high resolution novolak-based photoresists. An initial induction period, followed by a second stage of rapid development is common to both classes of materials, leading to high contrast, and thus, resolution.
The following example is intended to be illustrative of the invention:
A preferred liquid apply photoresist was prepared by combining in cyclohexanone solution the product of terpolymerization of MMA, TBMA and MAA, of composition 44/40/16 (weight ratio) respectively, with the visible sensitizing composition described in the copending application of Robert D. Allen, William D. Hinsberg III., Logan L. Simpson, Robert Twieg, Gregory M. Wallraff and Carlton G. Willson, entitled "Photoacid Generating Composition And Sensitizer Therefor", referenced earlier. The solution was applied to a copper substrate to give a film thickness of approximately 5 microns and was imaged with the Excellon visible laser direct-write tool and processed.
The tool was used to expose large pads at successively higher doses, followed by a 105° C. postbake and a development step in 1.2% aqueous sodium carbonate. The minimum dose required to clear the resist to the substrate under the conditions used was 6 mJ/cm2. The contrast, δ, the slope of the film thickness vs. log dose curve is greater than 10. Contrast is related to resolution, and the contrast of this resist is an order of magnitude higher than conventional materials (Riston: δ=0.8-1.2). Although the particular resist employed a sensitizer package designed to sensitize the photoacid generator to utilize 514 nm light most efficiently, the resist shows excellent sensitivity to UV light. At doses of 15 mJ/cm2, resolution of 1 mil was obtained with this resist. Resolution extendibility was demonstrated by printing 1.25 μm lines/spaces on silicon substrates with a PE-500 projection printer, followed by aqueous carbonate development.
An invention has been provided with several advantages. The materials of the invention are tough, film-forming, capable of acid-catalyzed deprotection chemistry, high resolution imaging and are developable in sodium carbonate/water. Specially tailored properties can be "tuned" to an unanticipated extent by adjusting both the monomer ratios and molecular weight. Thus, TBMA provides the acid sensitivity which is the basis of a chemically amplified resist. The non-active monomer (MMA) gives improved mechanical properties and increases the solubility of the photoacid generator in the terpolymer binder without degrading the photospeed. A third monomer (MAA), acts to alter the development rate of the exposed resist, without affecting the contrast, i.e., the unexposed resist remains inert to the developer.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.